Farmers are the true inventors
Agri-Phoenix Feature: Mark Vass
Name: Mark Vass
Place: Home Hill, Burdekin Shire
I was brought up on my family’s cane farm and went on to complete a trade in boiler making, allowing me to move away to see more of the country. I was never too interested in the farm after I completed my trade, however I have always had an undeniable entrepreneurial streak from a young age.
I have worked in several different industries including mining, manufacturing, construction, events, project management and sales. Following 10 years in the workforce, I began to find myself taking more of an interest in agriculture. In addition to having always wanted to bring my kids up the way I was brought up, on a farm, I was driven to come home again.
I am now a 4th generation sugarcane farmer, however I have diversified quite a bit in my 6 years of farming. I have a passion for soil and soil health, and feel the soils around our district have been neglected since the pioneers: from an endless monoculture of sugarcane.
I have an intensive rotational crop system, where every block will have 3 different crops (Soybean, corn, Mung Bean, Sunflower or Sorghum) on the paddocks before it is planted with sugarcane again. This has seen tremendous results in soil health, crop yields and overall gross margins since implementing the system.
I feel that farmers are constantly demonised as we’re an easy target. As most Farmers haven’t had a tertiary education, they are made to feel that their knowledge and experience is inferior to people who have a degree. However the experience farmers have of working the land is so valuable and needs more recognition than it receives.
Farmers are the true inventors. We are forever faced with problems beyond our control and we are the only people that can overcome them. No one thing is the same on two different farms, so it often comes down to the owner to know what’s best for their farm.
If farmers raped and pillaged the land as they are portrayed, they would no longer be in business. We have to look after the environment and are passionate about it. That’s why we take it to heart every time we are portrayed as environmental vandals though mainstream media.